Yael T. Abouhalkah

The Kyle James dilemma for Kansas City (continued)

Updated: 2013-07-20T22:50:06Z

By Yael T. Abouhalkah

The Kansas City Star

Two years ago, Kyle James — the son of Kansas City Mayor Sly James — was in the news because of his troubles with the law.

And now it’s 2013 and he’s still in trouble with the law, making this seemingly never-ending saga a small, sad sidelight in the James administration.

So what’s changed from almost exactly two years ago, when I wrote a piece titled, “The Kyle James dilemma”?

There’s good news for the mayor — and the city — right off the top.

Back then a lot of people were concerned that Kyle James’ scrapes with police would rile up people still upset about the Mark Funkhouser administration and how that mayor had involved his wife in the running of City Hall.

The Funkhouser familial problems, it seemed, were going to continue in the James administration.

Again, that was in 2011, shortly after James had been elected. And now it’s 2013, and the problems that dog Kyle James simply have not become a big issue for the mayor.

I would re-emphasize something I wrote back then: “No, Kyle’s legal woes are not yet overwhelming the good that Sly James has done so far as mayor, not by a long shot.”

But I and others were wrong in warning that a lot of people might lose faith in James because of these problems with his son. And it was probably going overboard in 2011 to worry that the Kyle James dilemma would hurt Kansas City’s image nationally (as the Funkhouser woes did).

So what’s happened since then?

• Voters came forward in droves to approve a sales tax increase that Mayor James sought in 2012.

• Earlier this year voters overwhelmingly endorsed a renewed health levy.

In other words, the fate of the city has not been affected in a greatly negative way by the well-publicized problems of the mayor’s son.

To reach Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/YaelTAbouhalkah.

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